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Literature Review Example To perform this study, it was necessary to understand solar energy collection and its conversion into electricity, evaluation of electrical performance, and the current efforts being made to improve conversion efficiency. It was also important to examine the actual effect of the color filters on the light input into the panel. The primary material used in the modern collection of solar energy is silicon. Even though it takes 100 times more surface area of silicon than that of other solid-state materials to collect the same amount of energy, silicon was already developed and in mass production when solar energy collection technology was developed, and so it was the practical choice (Goetzberger, Luther, & Willeke, 2002). However, any semiconductor is acceptable. The semiconductor is part of a panel called a photovoltaic, or solar cell. This cell absorbs sunlight and transfers it into electricity, typically with a 15-20% efficiency (Kribus, 2002). The true principle of this study (the factor observed) centers not on the inner processes involved in the energy transfer, but rather on the efficiency of the solar cell. The purpose of solar panels and solar energy collection is for the output of power, measured in Watts (P=V x I, V=voltage, I=current). However, in order to study how factors affect this output, it is crucial to understand how this performance is evaluated. A study was conducted by the Florida Solar Energy Center (1999) observing the performance of two separate solar setups for homes in Kissimmee, Florida. Analyses were done on the long-term performance and efficiency of the two systems, measuring power over time in Watt-hours. This study examines similar parameters on a smaller scale, but does not look at many of the extra angles examined by this study. For example, the standard requirements of Electrical Codes had to be considered, which does not apply in this study. In essence, the Florida study was designed to

incorporate all the elements necessary to practically supply a fully functional family home with all its electrical needs, whereas this study is more concerned with the general principles of solar energy collection. However, the most basic analyses are the same. The Florida study determined photovoltaics to be an adequate and acceptable alternative to standard electrical power. Kivalov, Salikhov, Tadzhiev, and Avezov's study (2001) is another excellent look at evaluation of output. It examined thermal efficiency of solar panels, a factor not being considered in this study, but still presents sound examples of useful graphics, aptly demonstrated analysis equations, and a good explanation of what it all means. A scatter plot with a linear regression was displayed and used to determine the thermal efficiency coefficient, which was then compared to calculated values of the same. These are sound statistical techniques that can be applied to a variety of situations. Efficiency is the ratio of total energy input into a machine or other system to the total energy output (e = useful energy output/energy input). Solar energy collection efficiency has improved as the general technology has improved, growing from the first passive collection methods (efficiency approx. 1%) to the current applicable methods (efficiency approx. 15-20%) (Kribus, 2002). Studies have been done toward the next advance for increased output and efficiency. The issue has been examined from several angles, both from that of maximum possible efficiency, and from that of highest possible efficiency while remaining industrially feasible. Kribus's study (2002) delivered an examination of a new process with efficiencies approaching 70%, although it would be difficult and extremely expensive, probably too much so to be economically feasible. In the conversion within the panel from sunlight to electricity, efficiency will rise if the panel can operate at higher temperatures. Normal panels use a double cycle conversion process; Kribus (2002 introduces a triple cycle, the first of which operates at

extremely high temperatures. It is called a magneto-hydro-dynamic (MHD) cycle, and can operate at temperatures in the range of 2000° - 2500°, up from the current limit of about 1300°. Hezel's (2002) study presented a panel with increased efficiency, possibly approaching 30%, that is still feasible for mass production. His design uses a different kind of silicon, called Czochralski silicon, with oblique evaporated contacts (OECO). The contact points are metallized using low-cost aluminum and obliquely evaporated using a very simple four-step process that may prove to be feasible for mass production. These improvements being made in the technology are wonderful, but worthless unless they can be put to good use. Why should scientists bother with all the effort of improving alternative energy collection methods when the world is already quite happy with its current energy supply? Obviously, fossil fuels will only last so long, and solar energy is emerging as the heir-apparent to the oil dynasty, as the best choice economically and ecologically (Hamakawa, 2002). There are a number of emerging new applications as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's "About Photovoltaics" website: "PV systems are now both generating electricity to pump water, light up the night, activate switches, charge batteries, supply the electric utility grid, and more. Whether you are a homeowner, farmer, planner, architect, or just someone who pays electric utility bills, PV may already touch your life in some way." Callahan, Parker, Sherwin, and Anello's study (1999) examined the possibility of using photovoltaics to provide the energy needs of the 25,000 portable classrooms throughout Florida. Given the tremendous cost of powering these units, even with ventilation below recommended standards, an alternative was needed; but no such switch could be made without verification of its effectiveness. The energy consumption of an average classroom was observed using similar techniques to this study, but on a larger scale, and it was determined that the total energy

consumption could be significantly reduced with only modest modifications and additions to supply solar power. As the world moves forward to new technologies and horizons, solar energy stands poised to lead the way into a new era of cleaner, more efficient energy. Colored filters for light perform a rather simple function: they absorb all wavelengths of light except that of their own color, thus tinting the light that color. The color of light is determined by its wavelength and dictated in the color spectrum; a shorter wavelength will appear blue, while a longer one will appear red (green is somewhere in the middle). So, essentially what is done when an object is exposed to color-filtered light is it is exposed to light of a specified wavelength: shorter for blue, medium for green, and longer for red (Hecht, 2000). (Literature Review Example: Excerpt from Ryan Malec, 2003-04)


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